October 16, 2021

Channel Field Check Up Series: Plan ahead to keep more soybean bushels

Soybean harvest can be a complex game of give and take as farmers juggle grain moisture, pod retention and harvest timing to preserve yields. As soybeans reach the maturity stage, Channel Seedsmen will be spending time in fields to evaluate plant health and help farmers establish a field harvest plan to hold on to as many bushels as possible.

When soybeans begin to dry down, farmers should monitor crop moisture levels to help determine harvest order. Under good drying conditions, soybeans typically reach 15% moisture content about five to 10 days after 95% of the pods have reached their mature color.

Harvesting soybean fields at 14% to 15% moisture helps to maximize grain weight and minimize yield losses. Soybeans that will be dried mechanically can be harvested at 17% to 18% moisture content. At the grain elevator, soybeans with moisture content at or below 13% are the most profitable for farmers.

Late-season soybean diseases, such as frogeye leaf spot, can also limit yield potential. Identifying the disease or diseases in a field and understanding the potential for standability issues and pod shattering can help prioritize fields for harvest.

Talk to your Channel Seedsman about reducing disease risk next year with fall tillage or crop rotation. Also, consider a Channel soybean product with high resistance to disease.

Currently, soybean field conditions in Illinois are progressing along with many fields flowering and starting to set pods. Heavy rainfall in many areas of central and southern Illinois has led to water ponding, causing soybean death in some cases.

Quite often, significant soybean harvest losses can be attributed to the combine. University studies indicate that 75% of soybean fields that experience yield loss are due to mechanical issues. Remember that ground speed, cutter bar conditions and the location and speed of the pickup reel can all contribute to harvest losses.

The next few weeks of observations and notes made by Channel Seedsmen can help provide a picture of fall yield potential and set the stage for next season’s product selection. Visit channel.com to learn more about the Channel Field Check Up Series and to access more agronomy tips and insights.

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